This week we feature an article by Brooke Harper who writes about the importance of using social media to provide great customer service. If you’re not monitoring what customers are saying about you and your company on social media, what are you waiting for?! – Shep Hyken
Are you paying attention to what your customers are saying on social media? If you’re not, it’s time to start. There are relevant conversations surrounding your brand across multiple social networks, and if you’re not listening or contributing, then you’re missing out on opportunities to deliver customer service in a timely and relevant fashion. In fact, many of the most successful companies in the world have begun using social media as one of the ways they address and resolve customer concerns—with fantastic results. In fact, when a company engages their customers through social channels in this way, those customers go on to spend 20 to 40 percent more on products and services from that company. In other words, if you’re not engaging in this practice, you’re losing opportunities and profits alike.
It Starts with Effective Social Listening
The first step to being a great social listener is to figure out which social networks your customers and ideal audience use most, and tailor your approach to fit that. If your services fall under the B2B umbrella, for example, your customers are more likely to engage with you on LinkedIn as opposed to in B2C businesses.
Not sure where your customers go when they’re online? Then try asking them, through a survey. Communication is key to great service.
When you know where to engage, you can start to collect information through messages, mentions, and more. Are people asking for customer support? Are they providing feedback—and how much is positive versus negative? How is the best way to respond?
Timing Is Everything
To deliver great social media-based customer service, you have to be able to respond in a timely manner—not in a week, not in a few days, but ideally within a few hours or even within a few minutes. In fact, nearly half of consumers expect a response within one hour of reaching out via social media, so don’t leave them hanging. Having a centralized customer service platform that is integrated directly to your social channels is a great way to accomplish this, as it empowers you to look at each item from each stream, prioritize them based on seriousness—e.g., technical, account, and payment issues first, followed by more minor concerns—and assign tickets to them. You can also see if there have been previous interactions with the same customers, and how those were resolved, which could save you even more time.
Put Great Care into Each Interaction
Just because a customer interaction happens through Facebook or Twitter doesn’t mean that you’re allowed to slack or be less professional. Being polite and courteous, as well as making a customer feel cared for, are always key elements in the customer service field, and will never be less important. Provide the same level of service that you would in person or over the phone, take any opportunity to go the extra mile, and who knows—perhaps someday, you’ll be looked at as the prime example of how others should be using social media!
Great Social Media Examples
You needn’t look far to find terrific examples of how to conduct yourself online, either. Take a look, for example, at Microsoft’s official Xbox Support Twitter account. They have an entire team dedicated to answering support questions through Twitter, 24/7—and have actually won a Guinness World Record for “most responsive corporate account on Twitter.” Does this mean you have to compete with them to be successful? No. But it exemplifies the importance of timely, always-available service.
Buffer is another great example on Twitter. A quick look at their feed showcases how each reply is kindly-worded, and personalized with a signature from the individual support worker. This is a simple and effective way to make each customer feel that their time and patronage is valued.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: IBM Helps Retailers Get Ready For This Year’s Holiday Shopping Experience